The SSDI Blue Book & Requirements to Obtain Benefits from the Program

woman in wheelchair

If someone is unable to work because of a disability, financial support might be available for them. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program offered by the federal government and administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). It’s designed to help disabled workers in the United States receive the support they need after sustaining injuries that prevent them from earning wages. To qualify for SSDI, a person has to have a history of employment and  

Is SSDI the Same As SSI?  

The SSA also has the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program that’s often confused with SSDI. While like SSDI, the SSI system does not require a person to have a previous work history or to have paid taxes toward the Social Security program. So, a person applying for SSDI should not confuse it with SSI as they likely will not qualify for it.  

Financial Requirements for SSDI Benefits 

To qualify for SSDI benefits, a person needs to meet the specific medical and financial requirements. Financially, a person qualifies for SSDI benefits if they have enough work credits. SSDI work credits are accrued throughout a person’s employment history. Each year a worker earns wages, they pay FICA taxes into the Social Security System and gather work credits.  

Workers can earn a maximum of four work credits per year and different age groups require different amounts of work credits to collect SSDI benefits. To find out more about work credits, visit the Social Security Administration’s website. In addition to work credits, a person cannot earn more than $1,130 per month to qualify for SSDI benefits. 

There are some exceptions for individuals who are in a trial work period. However, you should consult a Pennsylvania Social Security attorney before returning to work or earning any income to determine if this will affect your disability benefits. 

Medical Requirements for SSDI Benefits 

A person’s medical issues must meet SSA’s definition of a disability for them to qualify for SSDI benefits. The definition of disabled for SSA purposes is slightly different from the definition of disabled for other programs or situations. The SSA's definition of disability is the "inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months." 

The SSDI Blue Book: How the SSA Determines Disability 

The Social Security Administration’s Disability Evaluation Under Social Security is how the agency determines how much compensation a person will receive for disability. It’s popularly referred to as the SSDI Blue Book.  

The first section of this publication provides general information about programs administered by SSA, including SSDI and SSI. It provides information about the claims process and gives a detailed discussion of SSA's definition of disability. The second section of the Blue Book explains the acceptable sources of medical information and evidentiary requirements for determining if an applicant is eligible for Social Security disability benefits. 

The third section of the Blue Book is probably the section that is most read by applicants, physicians, and attorneys when applying for SSDI benefits. This section includes a listing of impairments used to determine if a specific physical or mental condition rises to the level of disability. The Listing of Impairments in the Blue Book is divided into an adult section and a childhood section with sub-sections in each category for various disease groups. For each disease, the Blue Book details the general requirements for one to be considered a disabling condition. 

Why Do I Need a Harrisburg Social Security Attorney? 

Even though the SSDI process is a matter of completely and filing forms and following the SSA's instructions, the process of filing and qualifying for Social Security disability benefits can be complicated and frustrating. The smallest mistake could result in a costly delay or denial of benefits. When the SSA denies a claim, an applicant can appeal the decision.  

Contact the experienced Harrisburg Social Security lawyers of Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC for a free consultation. Our firm has helped Harrisburg and the surrounding areas since 1922, and we’re ready to be the advocates that you deserve right now. We know how important SSDI benefits are for those who need them and are proud each time we’re able to make a difference for a client.  

Your consultation is free and confidential when you call us right now at (888) 498-3023

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